Leper House


Dordrecht (Netherlands)

After the erection of this Leper House in 1725, it not only lodged people who suffered from leprosy, but also the so-called ‘antisocial’. In that time this term included orphans, the mentally ill, alcoholics, plague victims and elderly people. The premises looked out over a small square where criminals were executed.

Four decades later the institution was closed down and in the course of the centuries the building was converted into barracks, a military hospital and the municipal records office. Currently a commercial company has established its offices here.

Visitors can freely enter the passageway and study the adornments in Louis XIV style. Above the entrance you see the coat of arms of Dordrecht; the blue sign on the right indicates that this is a local monument.

On the photos below you see details of the windows above the entrance. The first one is taken from the inside and looks out over the houses on the square where, fortunately, no longer criminals are executed. There is a barbershop, though, where the hairdresser still cuts your hair with a knife.

By the way, the neighbours were the poor women of the court I showed you earlier: Houses for poor women.

This series is my contribution to this week’s Thursday Doors, a very inspiring webpage if you love doors.

20 thoughts on “Leper House

    • Yes, Suvi, if you know the history of the building, any building, these stones say so much more and next time you walk by, it gives a different feeling. I always try to visualize the things that happened in a place and feel what the people could have experienced.

      Liked by 1 person

    • You’re right, I could have added the place (I did in the meantime). The door belongs to one of the monuments in the centre of Dordrecht, Netherlands, my hometown. I frequently pass by this building and even went to the hairdresser with the knife for quite some time. The town is full of this kind of monuments and histories, so I will try and get some more of them for you.


  1. So interesting! Especially that elderly people would be considered “antisocial.” H-m-m-m. I’m getting up there in years myself. So grateful to have my own snug home.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, I found the ‘elderly people’ bit slightly worrying, as I would fit into this category. I have been wondering why they were included, maybe because they could not contribute to society anymore, although I guess that retirement was not yet known in those days. Any other suggestion?


  2. I would not mind either to live in that court. It is not difficult to imagine myself sitting there in front of my house reading or maybe only looking at all the things around me and imagine how life must have been in former days.


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